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57 released from coronavirus quarantine at Camp Ashland

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    ASHLAND, NE (WOWT) — Fourteen days is up.

After clearing their last round of testing, the 57 under quarantine at Camp Ashland for possible novel coronavirus are being released Thursday.

Dr. Eric Kasowski, CDC team lead for the quarantine at Omaha, said Thursday morning that all 57 are healthy and will return to their communities.

“The really, really important thing to know is that these people pose no health threat to their communities,” he said. “These Americans have done their duty — 14 days — and they’re getting to go back to their families.”

Kasowski praised the group for their outlook during the quarantine period.

“They were just grateful,” he said. “This was a fabulous group. They were happy and grateful the entire time and really thankful, certainly, to be here in the United States. They understood the reason for the quarantine and were really patient with it.”

The group flew in from China nearly 2 weeks ago and has been tested twice a day every day for the coronavirus.

They’ll be tested one last time Thursday morning, and then they’ll be cleared to go home.

Officials say it’s bittersweet. The group has become close, knowing they’re all going through this together.

“I like to see it when our citizens are taken care of and I like to see our system work,” said Smith.

Arriving Friday, Feb. 7 on Kalitta Airlines at Eppley Airfield from Wutan, China, after a layover in California, the group OF 57 was transported directly to Camp Ashland. All but one remained there through the entire quarantine period; one woman in the group was transported briefly to the National Quarantine Unit hospital for closer monitoring after developing possible symptoms but was returned to Camp Ashland the following day.

In China two weeks ago, they had been forced into quarantine after the coronavirus outbreak. With the quarantine period ending Thursday, Joe Smith with the Center for Disease Control says they’ve been getting the group prepared to ease them back into their everyday lives.

They have counselors on hand to reduce any mental or emotional stress they may be experiencing.

Smith says the release won’t be a big display like the buses that brought them in. Each family will be driven to the airport by officials depending on when their flights are. We’re told the people in the group live all around the country.

“We have quite a mix, we have more than a dozen under the age of 18 including 2 infants I can’t wait to be able to hold before they leave,” said Smith. “There’s absolutely zero fear, we started out with 57 healthy people, we’re finishing up with 57 people and I wouldn’t mind if any of my children sat next to them on an airplane, that’s how confident I am with this process.”

This is a developing story. Stay with 6 News for updates.

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